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Singing the Blues year in review


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PRESEASON OUTLOOK  Taresenko wanted out, the core is aging, Binnington has been slipping since the cup run, I think a lot of folk thought the Blues might contend for a playoff spot and be first round fodder. Anything more than that seemed out of reach.

 

FINAL RECORD 49-22-11 109 points 3rd in the Central. Beat the Wild in six in the opening round before bowing out in round two to the Avalanche

 

HIGH POINT OF THE YEAR Well they won five in a rowto start the year but the streak at the end of the year, beggining with a 4-3 win over Vancouver on March 28th they went 14-0-2 crushing everything in their wake. Husso was on a tear as was Taresenko.

 

LOW POINT OF THE YEAR Right before that they were on a pretty bad run, in their previous dozen games they went 3-6-3 losing to bad teams in Columbus, Philly, Winnipeg, Ottawa, New Jersey and the Islanders. They were adrift and looked like they might not make it to the playoffs but then righted things in a big way.

 

WHAT WENT RIGHT Husso was an absolute monster going 25-7-6 with a 2.56 goals against carrying the team through rough stretches. Taresenko came back in a big way with 34 goals and 82 points. Robert Thomas has become the key to the offense, 77 points in 72 games. Pavel Buchnevich came over in a salary dump from the Rangers and scored 76 points in 73 games. Jordan Kyrou was the 4th forward with over a point a game. Barbachev was another youngster and key contributor with 26 goals. Brayden Schenn had his usual 24 goals and 58 points like punching a clock alongside David Perron who had 27 goals like he seems to year after year while contributing stiffling defense from the wing. Saad came along and knocked in 24 goals. Faulk and Krug while flawed defensively contributed offense from the back end. Parayko diidnt come along as hoped for offensively but is a fantastic shut down guy, a throwback to a different era. 

 

WHAT WENT WRONG Binnington continues to slip going 18-14-4 with a 3.13 goals against. Bozak is a shell of his former mediocre self. Ryan O'Reilly is the biggest concern, still elite when taking a faceoff but his offense has slipped and he has lost the number one line to Thomas. Leddy was a deadline add for a second rounder, Walman and Sundqvist and he was a flop and is now a free agent. 

 

DRAFT PICKS AND FREE AGENTS They dont have a second rounder this year or next. Free agents are a massive problem, Husso is an unrestricted free agent who simply must be signed with other teams running up the price he should have been signed a year ago. Perron would like to return if feasible and they would like him back as well but money may be an issue. Leddy and Bozak will walk. The big thing is NEXT year must be addressed this offseason as Barbachev, O'Reilly and most importantly Taresenko are all unrestricted after next year while both Thomas and Kyrou are RFAs who will be expecting long term deals for solid money so Taresenko and possibly more will be moved. This is a critical offseason for the Blues

 

TOP PROSPECTS Perunovich is supposed to be their best prospect but he is small and not fast, he has a great first pass but gets pushed around a lot. Jake Neighbors didnt embarrass in a nine game run to start the year before returning to Juniors where he dominated. He will likely be in the AHL this year but will repalce one of the soon to depart wingers within a year. Joel Hofer did a lot to help his career this season and if Hofer walks he will be the backup and might even wind up in a time share in net. Tyler Tucker will likely stick as the 7D for the coming season. The team is fairly high on Nikita Alexandrov but he cannot skate. He does a lot right but skating is not one of them and with the game going full speed he wont make it. 

  So in the ready or near ready list, they have a bottom pair defender who they are too high on, a very nice goal scorer who is likely a year away and would be hurt if they rushed him, a goalie who until this year was not thought to be a real prospect, and a center who is timed on the ice with a sundial. Not a lot here to like.

 

STRANGE STAT OF THE YEAR Only one team had a better power play in the Leafs and that was only by a tiny margin. They were also fifth in penalty kill so their special teams were particularly special this year. But here is the thing about the power play in St louis, it was a team effort. Only one player (Perron) was in the top 25 in power play goals nobody else cracked the top 40. Shockingly Tareseko only managed five tallies with a man advantage good for only 7th on his own tea, and nowhere near the leaderboard.  In Power play assists Krug led with 16 which was good for 32nd. So they were deadly on the power play using a team first concept and not running up the stats from any one player. Chief has them buying into his system and it is working like a charm. even strength they were only a plus 27 but their power play outscored their oppenents power play 70-36 along with 7 shorties, this team lived and died on special teams. The funny thing is Robert Thomas for much of the first three quarters of the season barely touched the ice on the power play and even iwth an uptick late in the year in ice time on the power play the teams leader still only managed to rank 8th in ice time with a man advantage. Along the same vein, they were quietly 3rd in the league in total goals but their point leader was 28th in the league in scoring and the team leader in goals Taresenko was 32nd in goals. Simply a team effort in every way.

 

OUTLOOK Lots of clouds on the horizon, Husso and Perron would be massive losses if they both go, next year figuring out what to do with Taresenko, Buchnevich and Oreilly as well as the RFA contracts due for Kyrou and Thomas and then a bunch of prospects who are at best overrated. Will they deal Taresenko? If so what can they get? Thi past season might have been the last hurrah for awhile for the Blues. They look to me to be a team set to drop. 

 

 

 

 

Edited by yave1964
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